Today I have the privilege of introducing you to Dana Herndon, a friend of mine from a Christian writing group. Dana contributed a post to the 2016 Advent devotional series, and I’m so excited to have her back this year!
Welcome (back), Dana!
A Front Row Seat to the Glory
by Dana Herndon
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. — John 1:14
Unpacking the Christmas decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving is always a fun tradition at our house. I love pulling out old ornaments and reminiscing about Christmases past and reminding my children how little they used to be as we place more than fifteen years’ worth of handmade ornaments on the tree.
While we treasure the memories, there is also a feeling of excitement and anticipation in the air. Christmas is coming and along with it comes family gatherings and celebrations and a chance to make new memories. During the Christmas season, I often try to imagine the holy anticipation in the air on that first Christmas over 2,000 years ago.
When Jesus came as Messiah two millennia ago, he did not arrive as people expected. They anticipated a conquering king who would overthrow the harsh Roman rulers and establish a holy kingdom. They were surprised. Some even disappointed.
However, overthrowing the government was not the primary purpose for the first coming of Jesus, when he was born as a little baby. So why did he come? What is the point of our anticipation and our advent celebration?
One of the many names of Jesus is Emmanuel, which means God-with-us (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:22-23). John 1:14 also illustrates how Jesus came to be with us and dwell among us.
“We observed his glory,” John writes. In the Bible, the Lord tells his people that they cannot see his full glory and live. When Moses caught just a glimpse of God’s glory, he had to cover his face because it shone so brightly from the reflection of the Lord (Exodus 34:29-35).
So for Jesus to be with us—our Emmanuel—he had to become human. He came to dwell among us, his people, as one of us. Right in the middle of all our faults and problems, Jesus dwells.
When he walked the earth as a human, the people saw his glory. Jesus is still present and we, too, can see his glory. What happened that first Christmas still resonates today. Jesus came for the whole world throughout all time, not just for those who saw him in the flesh during those ancient biblical times.
As we prepare to celebrate this Christmas and look forward to being with family and friends, let’s remember what the anticipation and celebration is really about: God made flesh, heaven come to earth, the glory of the Lord wrapped in the body of a baby, come to save the world.
We are lost in sin without Jesus. The world needs a Savior, so Jesus came. He loves us that much. He loves you more than you can even imagine.
Emmanuel. God-with-us. God-with-you.
Do you need a reminder that God is with you? Do you know someone who does?
Dana Herndon is a writer, blogger, and middle school teacher. She and her husband live in Georgia with their three children. In addition to teaching and writing, Dana loves to read, paddle board, and sometimes run. She blogs about faith, family, and enjoying the everyday at danaherndon.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.